Rosie Swale-Pope to Restart UK-Nepal Run…From the Beginning

Long-term readers of ExWeb will be familiar with the escapades of veteran runner Rosie Swale-Pope, 75. She is once again ready to hit the tarmac and restart her 8,500km run from Brighton, England to Kathmandu, Nepal.

Rather than pick up her route from Turkey, where she had to stop because of coronavirus restrictions after 3,000 hard-won kilometres, Swale-Pope plans to start over again completely. She leaves Brighton on June 25 and runs to Norway (not counting a ferry across the North Sea). She then turns east toward Siberia and onward to Nepal.

When we first caught up with Swale-Pope in the middle of 2019, she was a little over a year into her original long-haul adventure and had reached Hungary. The experienced runner spent roughly nine of every 10 nights sleeping in a three-wheeled trailer that she hauled with a harness. She called her vehicle-cum-hotel Ice Chick.

Confined to a hotel in Turkey

Along the way, Swale-Pope broke up her journey, and to some extent its purity, by jetting back home to England to visit family. As with her many past adventures, there were interesting subplots, such as the unknown dying man Swale-Pope cradled as he expired in a remote forest in Germany.

By the time COVID-19 hit last March, the effervescent Swale-Pope was on Turkish soil and over a third of the way to Nepal. However that was to be the end of the road. By March 30, Swale-Pope was the only guest of a Hilton hotel in a town near the Black Sea. She was trapped by strict confinement rules for over 65s and a suspension on international flights. She apparently passed many days rustling up rations on a camp stove and doing laps of the hotel stairs.

Rosie Swale-Pope in her hotel room at the Hilton Safranbolu, Turkey. Photo: Financial Times


Eventually, she managed to hotfoot it back to the UK after two months cooped up in the hotel. The restless runner soon realized that the pandemic ruled out a speedy return to Turkey. Instead, Swale-Pope made time for another quick adventure — running the length of Britain – 1407km, with a heavier backup cart in tow (Ice Chick was in storage in Turkey). She arrived at the northern tip of Scotland on Christmas Day, after 166 days — presumably with some lockdown interruptions.

While many of us are struggling back in to shape after months of working from home and closed gyms and pools, this inspirational septuagenarian is showing no signs of slowing down. Swale-Pope will be nearing her 80s by the time she reaches Kathmandu. And you get the sense that even this might not be her last adventure.